Katie Taft, “Imaginary Friends V”
Genuine Imitation Gallery
328 N.W. Broadway #116
Everett Station Lofts
Katie Taft will be lining the walls of the diminutive but powerful Genuine Imitation Gallery this month with what is the fifth installment of her Imaginary Friends series. The works feature Taft’s “friends” – sculptures of creatures apparently dormant in her imagination for the better part of 20 years – in their average urban existence. Taft’s sculptures are a refreshing distance from the overwhelming vinyl toy aesthetic that seems so all encompassing right now, with an unapologetic hand crafted quality and hailing mid-century European illustration more than anime slickness.
“Contemporary Drawing” featuring Troy Briggs and Nicholas Di Genova
420 S.W. Washington St. Suite 500
This month, Gallery 500 features a disparate pairing of artists whose works equally manifest the feeling of dreariness, promising to pervade our Northwest winter this year. For those hopeless humanitarians Nicholas Di Genova creates a mythical world of war and genetic manipulation where soldier’s portraits consist of mechanized chickens and walruses heads attached to the bodies of turtles. This isn’t some side-show nonsense, however. Di Genova is about all out war, and his poor suffering troops are like looking at the mechanized dystopian dreams of Germany’s Dadaists through a KFC filter. And if that doesn’t leave you sullen enough Portland artist Troy Briggs will be presenting new works of the lonely, wet, blackened, urban persuasion. Sweet.
107 N.W. Fifth Ave.
Compound is usually spot-on in their pairing of artists and overall exhibition choices, but I am a little suspicious of this show. Blythe is the doll equivalent of the sad-eyed Keane paintings that permeate hipster-kitsch culture and clog up hallways in the rentals of all PDX quadrants. The creepy/cute doll, originally produced in the early ’70s, has seen many careers, styles and manifestations, appearing in art photos and magazine spreads galore since being “re-discovered” in the last decade. This is an exhibition put on with CWC, the official Asian licensing firm for Blythe, and I’m sure it will represent all aspects of this collector doll. Compound will be featuring a show-only limited edition doll as well.
Jen Corace, “marigold, calendula”
19 N.W. Fifth Ave.
Jen Corace – whose work is seemingly everywhere in Portland, from a zillion group shows, to the Mercury, to the sketchbooks of adoring copycats, I mean fans – is finally getting her first solo show. As one of her adoring copycats I cannot begin to tell you how much the subtle, simple, breathtaking illustration of Corace has affected me. Her compositions are at times both sparse and baroque, taking simple emotional moments and filling them with enough subtle line and color to give them a distinct emotional weight. Her work is ambiguously nostalgic, calling eras past without relying on kitsch or hyper-personal symbols to convey melancholy. People have accused me of being limited in my scope as galleries are concerned, but when it rains this much it just makes sense to stick with spaces that do it right, and Motel has never let me down.